To accelerate innovation and adoption of new lightweighting technologies for on-highway vehicles, LightMAT, sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office, announces annual funding opportunities for the automotive industry to leverage technical assistance from the national laboratories. LightMAT accepts proposals that identify key technical challenges limiting the applicant’s use of lightweight materials that can further improve the energy efficiency of conventional and electric vehicles.
Applicants partner with one or multiple DOE national laboratories within the LightMAT consortium to address research needs for overcoming the identified challenges. Proposals should address a specific component or vehicle subsystem for lightweighting that will directly benefit from the application of an advanced material or manufacturing process to enable significant weight reduction. Recent funding calls, for example, focused on lightweighting of the glider, which is composed of the body-in-white, closure panels, chassis and suspension system, interior, structural battery enclosure, and wheels. The calls excluded applications that include batteries, power electronics, or other powertrain systems. Priority is given to proposals targeting components or subsystems that are not currently part of the Vehicle Technologies Office lightweight materials research portfolio.
Applicants are encouraged to prioritize proposals addressing their most pressing lightweighting challenges and associated research needs. Partnership with a LightMAT national laboratory is required and can be established either through existing relationships, or by the applicant identifying the type of research capabilities needed to accomplish the desired scope of work. With the latter, the LightMAT Concierge will work to match the applicant’s needs with the best LightMAT laboratory capabilities and experts.
The 2023 funding opportunity (May 15 through June 12) is now closed. All applications are being reviewed, with notifications of award expected by July 24, 2023.
All US domestic businesses serving the automotive market are eligible to apply.
Foreign entities, whether for-profit or otherwise, including US incorporated subsidiaries with a foreign-owned parent company, are eligible to apply; however, a waiver request will be required. Approval of this waiver is subject to DOE discretion, and is necessary to complete the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) contract. All project work under this opportunity must be performed in the US (100 percent of all direct labor).
Interested applicants wanting to collaborate with research experts and leverage unique materials capabilities at the DOE national laboratories are encouraged to apply.
Selected projects will receive up to $500,000 of LightMAT technical assistance from the partnering national laboratory(ies), over a maximum project duration of two years (lesser period of performance is acceptable). LightMAT anticipates selecting four new projects as part of this technical assistance opportunity. Applicants will fund their own labor, materials, and other expenses directly, which will contribute toward a required 50 percent minimum cost-share agreement. Contractual terms will be managed through a nonnegotiable, pre-established LightMAT CRADA.
How to Apply
Industry applicants are asked to submit a proposal based on the application template. Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with one or more LightMAT national laboratory during the application process to confirm availability of the capabilities and resources needed to achieve the research goal. Please feel free to contact the LightMAT concierge, prior to and during the early stages of the application process, for a recommendation relative to the most appropriate national laboratory (or laboratories) with the capability and experience to help address the proposed research.
The application should succinctly describe the opportunity for market impact, the technical barrier and approach to developing a solution, the impact anticipated toward vehicle lightweighting goals, what LightMAT capabilities are needed, and why DOE resources are necessary. The application template includes instructions and the evaluation criteria associated with this LightMAT opportunity.
Applications need to provide a detailed account of how the proposed lightweight material and/or process will contribute toward meeting the DOE program goal of 25 percent reduction in vehicle glider weight by 2030, and at no more than a $5/kg-saved cost penalty. Details about the expected weight reduction of the targeted component/sub-assembly should clearly describe how the percentage of weight reduction will be achieved, compared to a 2021 model year vehicle.
The statement of work will provide details to aid reviewers in understanding the approach that will be taken to achieve the project objectives, as well as the expected deliverables, milestones, and schedule. If the application is selected for award, the statement of work will be utilized for the CRADA Annex A: Statement of Work.
Proposal packages are to be emailed (firstname.lastname@example.org). The deadline for the most recent funding opportunity was June 12, 2023, at 11:59 pm EDT. All applications will be reviewed after June 12, with notifications of award expected by July 24, 2023.
1 25% glider weight reduction at less than $5/kg-saved by 2030
2 Subject to available DOE budget and work authorization to the LightMAT program.
3 CRADA terms and contract conditions available upon request from the LightMAT Concierge.